Document Type

Book Chapter

Rights

This item is available under a Creative Commons License for non-commercial use only

Disciplines

Information science (social aspects)

Abstract

The EU Kids Online survey represents the most substantial knowledge base to date about young people’s online experiences in Europe. Chapters in this volume highlight findings that provide new kinds of evidence of significant interest for policy makers. They address questions which range from how to respond to the fact that the internet is now firmly in children’s lives; how to develop appropriate strategies for internet safety while responding to shifting patterns of access and use; how to manage those enduring risks to children’s welfare that appear to be amplified in the online world, and deal with risks that are genuinely new; how to best mobilise mediation that can be effective; and how, in the context of wide diversity across Europe, to promote equality and inclusiveness?

In this chapter, we discuss the principal contours of the policy response to these questions thus far, asking whether current policy is working and what, if any, are the gaps in policy formulations on internet safety? Online safety has been debated in policy circles ever since the World Wide Web was opened for commercial and public participation, often without reliable research on its appropriateness or effectiveness. Responding to demands for greater regulation and control, policy makers have since the mid 1990s sought to support the opportunities of the Information Society, whilst minimizing its apparent downsides and increased risks for children and families brought about by a largely unregulated internet. Responses have included legislative, regulatory, law enforcement, awareness and educational measures involving a diverse number of stakeholders. The European Union has been to the fore in this regard, but so also has the Council of Europe, the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), UNICEF, UNESCO, and the Internet Governance Forum, to name but a few of the international actors within the increasingly busy space for policy debate on internet safety.

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